Risk Factors & Considerations for Mobile Recruiting & HR Technology

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This is Part 4 of a series on Workplace Trends in Mobile and Technology for the Human Resources Industry.  Check out Part 1 here.   Download the full essay on how mobile & technology are changing HR as featured in J. Wiley & Son’s Summer 2012 issue of Employment Relations Today Journal by downloading here.  I’ll be publishing the materials as part of an ongoing series on mobile recruiting and HR technology.

IDENTIFYING RISK FACTORS AND SOCIAL MEDIA DISCRIMINATION

Any new technology tool creates some risk for companies, managers, and employees, but the risks can be minimized. For example, under the CAN-Spam Act (mentioned earlier in this article), e-mail as well as mobile text messages must have “express prior authorization” from the message recipient either by electronic authorization such as a text message or click confirmation or written acceptance. Recipients who have previously authorized companies and entities to send messages may opt out and remove themselves from distribution at any time.

In a workplace and HR context, this means that companies sending current and former employees e-mailed newsletters, job announcements, or even employee notices to personal employee e-mail accounts must have express prior authorization. The same holds true for text messaging. Reputable text-message providers should offer at minimum an opt-in option when individuals text a message to a five-digit short-code number. Subscribers typically can remove themselves from receiving messages at any time by commonly texting “STOP” to the five-digit short-code number. Companies are liable for the providers if they do not adhere to the standards set by the Federal Trade Commission, which is why many companies who use text messaging use a double opt-in to ensure that they are in compliance and avoid fines and penalties, which can be up to $11,000 per occurrence.

Other risks involve failure to comply with recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules regarding “protected concerted activity” by employees on social media. A case involving an employee’s firing in 2009 allegedly because of posts made about her supervisor on Facebook threw the whole issue of using social media in the workplace into the spotlight. According to the NLRB’s guidance, companies should not terminate or take adverse action against employees who are discussing protected topics such as workplace safety and compensation, among others, whether it is happening in person onsite, offsite, or online.

Another risk is the potential for discrimination in using social media for employment processes. HR managers who use  information obtained via protected social-media profiles  to make a hiring, promotion, or other employment decisions must ensure that the  information obtained about  job candidates or employees  is used in compliance with the antidiscrimination provisions of wide range of laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS FOR MOBILE RECRUITING & HR TECHNOLOGY

Because communication technologies are changing and evolving at such a rapid pace, corporate executives, employment law attorneys, and  HR professionals  will question the security as well as risk of adopting programs and technologies like those described above for internal and external organization communications. It is true that the legal waters are murky regarding privacy, security, and discrimination issues connected with the use of social media and other technologies as part of our organization’s recruiting efforts. However, these technologies are not going away, and legal precedents will likely take 10-15 years before all the workplace and privacy intricacies come to light. In the interim, if organizations ignore the newest technological tools, they will lose out on a major competitive advantage.

Technologies and platforms are being built and designed to make all corporate functions more efficient and easier to handle. The key when evaluating the emerging technologies, social media, and mobile tools to engage your employees and job seekers is to select the tools and technologies that will provide the greatest value to the largest cross section of your target population or candidate base. It is important to understand that employers are now entering the “millennial age”; members of this newest-generation job seeker and employee constitute the largest segment in the workforce. It is more important than ever for employers to research, plan, and engage in new ways that reach the most skilled members of this generation because they will be the ones who steer the future of the most competitive organizations we know today.

This is Part 4 of a series on Workplace Trends in Mobile and Technology for the Human Resources Industry.  Check out Part 1 here.   Download the full essay on how mobile & technology are changing HR as featured in J. Wiley & Son’s Summer 2012 issue of Employment Relations Today Journal by downloading here.  I’ll be publishing the materials as part of an ongoing series on mobile recruiting and HR technology.

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Comments

  1. New technologies certainly have risk factors to consider when adopting them in an organization whether for hiring or for employee engagement. But you’re right: if organizations ignore the new tools, they lose out on a major competitive advantage. So what’s the solution? Social recruiters must be cognisant of privacy and discrimination in their social recruiting just as they would in traditional recruiting.

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